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Solar Impulse HB-SIA Will Go Global, Literally, with Google Partnership

Solar Impulse HB-SIA Solar Power Electric Airplane at Rest at JFK Airport
Solar Impulse HB-SIA Solar Power Electric Airplane at Rest at JFK Airport

A few companies have the distinction of global recognition, such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Coca-Cola, or Google. Swiss company Solar Impulse could join the list soon, going global quite literally.

Solar Impulse is a unique company, led by a Swiss psychiatrist/aeronaut, Bertrand Piccard, and a businessman, André Borschberg, who’ve set out to prove that flight is possible on solar power alone, both night and day. The aircraft, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA, has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 but is lighter than a small car. The massive wingspan is covered by nearly 13,000 solar cells, feeding 84kWh of lithium-ion batteries and 30kW of propellers.

The Solar Impulse HB-SIA has made hops from Payerne, Switzerland, to Madrid, Spain, to Rabat, Morocco, and then across the Unites States. Ultimately, the plan is to take the Solar Impulse HB-SIA around the world. In preparation for the circumnavigation, the next hop, a bigger one this time, will be the world’s first transoceanic solar-powered electric airplane flight.

In order to keep supporters and fans up to date with flight plans, Solar Impulse has partnered with Google. Last summer’s collaboration between Google and Solar Impulse in the Across America Mission was a complete success. This year, the collaboration continues, with Solar Impulse using various Google platforms to communicate, including YouTube, Hangouts, Google+, Glass, and Earth.

Photo credit: Anthony Quintano Foter CC BY

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